Natural Law and Sexual Ethics

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  • Natural Law and Sexual Ethics
    • The principle of Aquinas' natural law was that human life had a telos or purpose
      • Aquinas assumed that humans shared a common human nature so general principles could be applied to everyone, everywhere at all times
    • The purpose of sex according to natural law is to procreate - and so sex for any other reason is morally wrong
      • Whilst the enjoyment of sex is allowed, it is only allowed if the intention of sex is to create a child
    • In Summa Theologiae, Aquinas argued that sex can be morally wrong in two ways:
      • Sex is wrong if its nature is incompatible with the purpose of procreation:- self-abuse (masturbation) intercourse with another species, acts with a person of the same sex, foreplay
      • Sexual acts can be morally wrong even if natural - e.g. rape, incest, adultery
    • Natural law also insists that being married before having sex is found in the bible
    • Contraception breaks the primary precept to reproduce, so a secondary precept would be not to use contraception
    • Premarital sex and extramarital sex both go against what Augustine believed were main components of marriage:- faithfulness, companionship and procreation
    • Homosexuality  is against nature and cannot be act upon but there is no sin in homosexual inclinations
    • What about infertile married couples?
    • Masturbation can stop people having sex without the  intention of children?

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